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Wal-Mart stores present TEachers of the Year Awards

Friday, May 12, 2006

Both the Wal-Mart Distribution and Wal-Mart Transportation Centers announced their 2006 Putnam County Teachers of the Year on Tuesday.

Wal-Mart Distribution awarded Greencastle Middle School math teacher Mike Van Rensselaer with the award, while Wal-Mart Transportation honored South Putnam Junior/Senior High School band director Aaron Wells.

Wal-Mart Transportation representative Blake Schowe said teachers are selected by associates that work at each of the locations. He said a committee then selects a recipient for the award.

Both Wells and Van Rensselaer received a $100 gift card, a personalized certificate and a plaque and Van Rensselaer also received a T-shirt. In addition, each school the teachers are at received $1,000 grants from Wal-Mart.

"The teachers in our area are superb," Wal-Mart Distribution Manager Rick Alexander said. "The selection process was not an easy one."

The recognition coincides with National Teacher's Day (May 9) and Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-13).

Winning teachers also have the opportunity to apply for state Teacher of the Year honors. Wal-Mart also donates an additional $10,000 to schools of state winners. All state winners are automatically entered into a national competition, and the national winner will receive an additional $25,000 grant for their school.

Wal-Mart began the Teacher of the Year program in 1995 and has honored more than 26,000 teachers nationwide while donating more than $23.4 million to local schools since.

Co-sponsor of the event was Phi Delta Kappa International, an international professional education association.

More than 4,000 teachers were honored with awards Tuesday.

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